Word-of-mouth, also called WOM marketing, is the best advertising. If you had a pound for every time you’ve heard that or read it somewhere, you could probably retire. Recent research clearly shows the impact of guest feedback in online travel. More and more customers read reviews online before travelling or booking a hotel room. Reviews help them make a purchasing decision and consequently they are also more likely to make a purchase from a site that has user reviews.
The benefits of receiving online feedback from your guests are undeniable, but feedback is not always easy to get. If you want to truly be competitive, you’re going to have to have some good reviews on travel websites and on your own website. Chances are your competition is already doing it!
Here are ten smart ways to get guests to leave the reviews your hotel needs:
1. People like Helping
Despite what you may think, in the long run people really do enjoy helping others. Make a note in an easily noticeable area that your hotel is trying to become a certain review site’s top 10 or something to that effect. Make it clear that you’re trying to get to a position and that your customers can help you just by leaving a positive review for you.
2. Make it Simple
The best way to garner feedback is to make it very easy for your customers to leave it. Include links on your emails to customers. Make your websites user-friendly by implementing appropriate UX design and flow. Have a card or placard in your lobby along with a computer where guests can leave feedback while they check out. The easier it is for them to leave you feedback, the more likely they will be to do it.
3. Assurance You Care
People want to feel like they are respected and wanted. This is especially true in hospitality. Having quotes from visitors on your website, or a blog that is dedicated to travel advice, is going to make your hotel stand out. By being a caring, human-oriented company, you’re going to garner more interest from people who are naturally inclined to give feedback.
4. Strong Social Media Presence
Being a strong contender on social media is one of the best ways for your hotel to get its name out there. Tweeting and using media outlets like Instagram and Facebook are easy, effectual ways to get your name out to the public. Make sure that you are using appropriate hashtags, such as #traveltips or #gettingaway so that you will attract people who are interested in traveling.
5. Show Creative Reviews Off
If you’re going to showcase stories from customers on your website, then you should make sure that your customers know. Having a note that says something like ″leave your travel story for a chance to have it featured on our website″ along with links to your feedback where people will easily access them.
Never underestimate the benefits of bribery (ok, not really bribery, maybe just a nice perk). Offer a discount on your usual rates in exchange for reviews left on a certain website. Once the customer has shown proof of the review, you give them the discount. It’s a simple, very painless way to get more reviews in a short amount of time.
7. Have an Easy Complaint System
Just because you want to have positive things to show off on your hotel website doesn’t mean that you should hide all of your complaints. Companies only grow through understanding and being able to address legitimate criticisms. The other positive part of easy complaint systems is that it gives you the chance to turn the negative into a positive publicly, showcasing your hotel’s dedication to customer satisfaction.
8. Donation Stations
“For every review left, we will donate £1 to charity” is a great way to snag quick attention. Remember that the first tip was that people love helping. They also love donating to a cause. Once you’ve made it clear that you plan on donating to a charity, you’re more likely to get reviews and customers who also support that fund.
9. Respond to Reviews
It’s important that you don’t respond to every review left on your site. However, taking the time to randomly respond to 5 to 10 of them is going to make it look like you are very invested in the customer experience. Saying ″thanks″ isn’t all that means, however. Make sure to go the extra mile and leave a personalized comment back.
10. Rewarding Customers
Make sure that your guests know you appreciate their efforts. If you see that you’ve made leaps in your reviews, have a giveaway. For example, select a reviewer at random to get a free weekend’s stay at your hotel. This will give people incentive to keep reviewing, in case you choose to have another free drawing.
All of these above measures are very cost effective and once implemented will not take much time to maintain. It’s no lie when people say that reviews bring in business. By employing the above tactics, you’re more likely to bring in new customers. New customers, once happy, become repeat customers. They will then leave feedback and the cycle will continue.